Thursday, May 08, 2008

US lawmakers have accused the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of being out of control and of covering up the high suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.  US lawmakers have accused the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) of being out of control and of covering up the high suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
by Karin Zeitvogel

WASHINGTON (AFP) - "The VA healthcare system has been pushed to the edge in dealing with the mental health care needs of our veterans," Bob Filner, chairman of the House of Representatives' Committee of Veterans' Affairs, told a packed congressional hearing about the issue of suicides among veterans.

The hearing came five months after a first round of testimonials on the same topic, and weeks after a series of internal VA emails about suicides among veterans were brought to light by a documentary on US network television.

In one of the emails, sent in February, Dr Ira Katz, deputy chief patient care services officer for mental health at the VA, wrote: "Shh! Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1,000 suicide attempts per month among the veterans we see."

He added: "Is this something we should address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?" (Continued...)

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